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1. Can I view a sample Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)?

Yes, we are are happy to provide samples. Here is an example of one of our SWMS.

If you would like to view a sample of another product, you can find them on each of our product pages.

2. What if the legislation changes?

Regular emails are sent out to our database of clients to keep them informed about any updates or changes to the documents. At SafetyCulture we like to help you keep up to date - for any documents already purchased, you will only ever pay an upgrade fee.

View our OHS Legislation and Codes of Practice Reference List.

3. What is a SWMS?

It is a legislative requirement that a written Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is produced for work which is determined to be High Risk Construction Work under the WHS Act.

The purpose of a SWMS is to enable all people involved with specific high risk construction work to have a full understanding of the risks involved with undertaking that work and to implement the risk controls outlined in the SWMS thereby increasing workplace safety.

Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBUs) must ensure that SWMS are prepared for all high construction work before work is commenced. It is recommended that all SWMS are kept on-site or at a location where they can be delivered to the site promptly.

SWMS are also referred to by many other terms including, Safe Work Method Statements, Work Method Statements, Safe Work Methods, SWM and WMS.

4. How does a SWMS TEMPLATE work?

Our SWMS templates are ready to use. They are not blank templates. Once you've downloaded your product, you just insert your company details and ABN. You include any site specific details, the risks and make it specific to the task at hand. Then simply print and use as part of your OHS System.

Remember: The content of the SWMS should be refined over time and include consultation with workers and other persons conducting a business or undertaking. Prior to each new activity, the SWMS must be reviewed and revised to ensure it applies to the high risk construction work and the actual site you are working at.

5. Can I just print out my SWMS document and give it to the Principal contractor?

No, you are required to complete the necessary fields such as business name, address and ABN along with workers’ name etc. In addition to this the document can be tailored to the task and site.

Customisation instructions to assist you with completing your SWMS will be provided in your Sales Tax Invoice.

6. Do you have a refund policy?

At SafetyCulture every effort is made to ensure our products are of the highest quality and are written with Australian best practices in mind. It is our policy to ensure all our products match the product descriptions listed on our website. If for any reason you are dissatisfied with the quality of our products, please let us know immediately and we will endeavour to rectify the problem promptly.

If this does not meet your satisfaction a refund will be offered within seven days of purchase. If you prefer an alternative to a refund, a store credit may be offered. We ask that you please choose carefully before making your purchase as we do not refund for incorrect choice.

Customising Your SWMS

1. Can I add my logo and company name?

Yes. All documents are provided in Microsoft Word Format, so you can easily input your company logo and details.

2. Can I change the content of the SWMS?

Yes. All documents are provided in Microsoft Word Format, so you can easily customise to meet the requirements of your clients:

change colours
add photos
add or delete information to make your SWMS site and task specific.

3. What is my SWMS number?

A SWMS number is an internal numbering system that you can apply to your SWMS to assist with filing and record keeping.

A suggestion is to number your SWMS according to project number or if the SWMS is being used for everyday tasks and is not project related you may wish to apply a company specific SWMS number. For example, SafetyCulture may number its SWMS like so SWMS No: SC100

4. What information should I be customising in the footer area?

The details included within the footer section are there to assist you in keeping adequate records, and meet quality management requirements for document control and monitoring.

To assist you in filling out this section we have put together this SWMS Document Control Guide.

5. What is the "Date / Revision Date" of my document?

The "Revision Date" or "Date" included in the footer space of your document is a date that your organisation sets to assist with the annual review process of your OHS compliance documents.

OHS Documents should be reviewed at least annually, in consultation with workers, health and safety representatives and other relevant parties.

Your OHS documents should also be reviewed if:

it is identified that there are changes in the workplace that affect the document
it is identified that the document is not effective
there are legislative changes that affect the document
there is a serious incident or dangerous occurrence.

Receiving Your Documents

1. How long will it take to receive my documents?

Your purchased products will be emailed to you directly upon receipt of payment from our online store and normally takes no more than 30 minutes. Should you have any issues receiving your documents contact our Customer Service Team for help.

2. How do I download my purchased products?

All our documents are emailed upon receipt of payment, in Microsoft Word format (MS Word), ready for you to download, save and edit as required.  You will need Microsoft Word installed on your computer to use any SafetyCulture template.

Download links to products purchased are included in your Sales Tax Invoice. 

Understanding Your SWMS

1. What information is included in SWMS?

The SWMS must:

identify work that is high risk construction work
specify hazards relating to the high risk construction work
specify risks to health and safety associated with those hazards
describe the measures to be implemented to control the risks, and
describe how the risk control measures are to be implemented, monitored and reviewed.

It is recommended that SWMS also include the following information:

the PCBU's name, address and ABN (if they have one)
details of the person(s) responsible for ensuring implementation, monitoring and compliance with the SWMS
the name of the principal contractor
the address where the work will be carried out
the date prepared
the review date (if any).

It is important that the information included in SWMS is clearly set out, be easily accessible and fully understood by all site supervisors and workers. The content of a SWMS should provide adequate directions on how the risk controls will be implemented.

2. Who is responsible to prepare a SWMS?

The PCBU must ensure SWMS are prepared for any high risk construction work they intend to carry out. SWMS should be developed in consultation with workers directly involved with the work. If more than one PCPU is undertaking work at the same worksite, then consultation between each PCPU regarding the content of SWMS is required to ensure consistency in the way work will be carried out on that site.

3. Who uses the SWMS?

SWMS are used by Principal Contractors, site supervisors, contractors, sub Contractors, Health and Safety Representatives (HSR?s) and any other workers on-site who may be directly affected by the work being carried out.

4. How long must SWMS be kept?

The SWMS must be kept and be available for inspection at least until the high-risk construction work is completed. If a SWMS is revised, all versions must be kept.

If a notifiable incident occurs in connection with the high-risk construction work to which the SWMS relates then the SWMS must be kept for at least 2 years from the occurrence of the notifiable incident.

5. When does a SWMS need to be reviewed?

A SWMS must be reviewed:

before any change is made to the way the construction work is carried out
before a new system of work is introduced
before the place where the work is being carried out is changed
if a new hazard is identified
if new information about a hazard becomes available
if a notifiable incident occurs in relation to construction work
if a control measure does not control the risk, or
a request for a review is received from a health and safety representative.

The PCBU must carry out the review of SWMS in consultation with Principal Contractors, contractors, subcontractors, workers and any relevant HSR's at the worksite.

Reference: Code of Practice - Managing Risks on Construction Work - Safe Work Australia.

6. How do I use the Risk Assessment Matrix?

The Risk Assessment Matrix is used to decide on the Risk Before (RB) and Risk After (RA) level for Risk Assessments and SafetyCulture Safe Work Method Statement.

For each job step.

1. Identify Hazards and subsequent Risks that are associated with the job step.

For example:

Hazard = Hazardous Manual Tasks
Risk of - Muscle stress and MSD caused by lifting, bending, carrying.

2. Use the Risk Matrix to decide what you believe the risk level would be BEFORE you have any controls in place.

For example:

What is the likelihood of injury?
What is the possible consequence of an injury occurring?

Decide on a Risk BEFORE (RB) controls level

3. Work out what control measures you have in place, or what you will put in place, who will make sure the controls are done and by when.

4. Re-assess the Risk level using the matrix and ask.

For example:

What is the potential of injury when the controls are in place?
What is the possible consequence, if an injury occurs when the controls are in place?

Decide on a Risk AFTER (RA) controls level.

5. Check that the risk level you decide on AFTER controls is LESS than the risk level before controls. If not, you need to re-assess and put additional or different controls in place.

6. When doing the Risk Assessment it is important to consult with all relevant persons who are involved with the job, their information should help you determine the risk levels. Deciding on risk levels is arbitrary, so the more experienced the assessor and the people you consult with, the more dependable the determined risk levels will be.